The main responsibility of the Assessor is to list and value all real property within their jurisdiction. This includes residential, multi-residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural classes of property. Real property is revalued every two years, and the effective date of the assessment is January 1st of the current year.
For more information about the Assessor's Office, check out this short video:
How do I find out where my property lines are?
Our office provides a map of all property lines within city limits. Simply go to our Property Search page and enter your address. Once your property has loaded, click the “Map” button at the top of the page. In order to see your lot lines, you will need to have a few layers turned on. Look to the “Layers” list on the left side of the page, and make sure the box next to “Parcels” is checked. In order to see lot dimensions, click the plus sign (+) next to “Annotation” at the top of the “Layers” list, and make sure the boxes next to “Lot Dim 100” and “Lot Dim 400” are checked.
Please be aware that, while our maps are very accurate and will give you a good idea where your lot lines are, they are not the same as a survey. If you are unable to locate you parcel pins by reviewing our map, you may need to hire a licensed land surveyor to locate your property lines for you. Names of licensed surveyors can be found under “surveyors-land” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book. Most licensed surveyors will provide you with an estimate of cost for performing the survey.
How do I locate my parcel pins?
When a lot is platted, pins are placed at all corners of the property. Parcel pins are usually a piece of rebar driven into the ground, and then capped at ground level with a colored plastic cap that includes the name of the surveyor who platted the land. Over time, these pins tend to get pushed underground, but there are several ways to locate them. Review the map on our Property Search page, and either use a metal detector, or dig at the corners indicated on the map. If you are unable to locate your pins, you will need to hire a licensed land surveyor. Names of licensed surveyors can be found under “surveyors-land” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book. Most licensed surveyors will provide you with an estimate of cost for performing the survey.
How do I find out who owns a property?
If you know the address or parcel number of the property, you may use our Property Search page to look up who currently owns the property. Simply enter the information in the appropriate search box, and then hit “Search”. The owner information will be located in the “Owner” section of the property record page.
Do you have contact information for a property owner?
Our office keeps a record of the mailing address where the owner requested assessment notices and tax statements be sent, however we are not able to provide any other contact information (such as phone numbers or email addresses).
How do I find out what a property sold for?
If you know the address or parcel number of the property, you may use our Property Search page to look up sales information. Simply enter the information in the appropriate search box, and then hit “Search”. The sales information will be located in the “Sales” section of the property record page. Sales that occurred before 1995 will not display because they occurred before the city went to a computerized system, however you may contact our office and we would be happy to find that information on our paper property records.
How do I sign up for the Homestead/Military exemption?
The applications for Homestead, Military, and a variety of other credits are located on our Exemptions and Credits page. Simply follow the instructions to complete the form and then efile with our office. Qualifications for each credit are available on the form, however if you have questions or need assistance filling out the form, please give us a call or stop up and see us.
How do I find out what the parcel number is for a property?
If you know the address the property, you may use our Property Search page to look up the parcel number. Simply enter the address in the address search box, and then hit “Search”. The parcel number will be located in the “Summary” section of the property record page.
How does the Assessor determine my property value?
Depending on the classification of the property, the assessment is to represent the market value of the property unless otherwise provided by Iowa Code. Residential, agricultural dwellings, commercial, and industrial classed properties are to be assessed at market value. Changes in market value as indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry are used in determining your assessment. Agricultural land and buildings are valued on productivity and net earning capacity.
In order to determine the most accurate value possible, the Assessor's Office may need to complete a physical inspection of your property. This short video explains the process that happens when a field appraiser visits your property:
What is Classification?
Real estate parcels are annually assigned a property classification by the assessor. This classification is to be consistent with the primary use of the property. There are five classifications of property in Iowa. These classes are agricultural, residential, multi-residential, commercial, and industrial. Classification may not necessarily be the same as the zoning of the property.
What is Market Value?
Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on January 1st of the year of assessment. This is sometimes referred to as the 'arms-length transaction' or 'willing buyer/willing seller' concept.
How often is my property reassessed?
State law requires all properties to be reassessed every two years. Current law requires the reassessment to occur in odd numbered years. If necessary, assessors may reassess property every year.
When are Assessment Notices mailed?
Assessment notices are mailed on or before April 1st whenever there is a change in assessment to a taxpayer’s property.
My assessment has not changed, why have my property taxes increased?
Your assessed value is only the starting point to determining your property tax amount. After the value is determined, the Department of Revenue issues a rollback rate to be applied to each class of property, creating a taxable value. Once that taxable value has been calculated, a levy rate is applied, determining the amount of property tax owed. Rollback and levy rates change from year to year, therefore if the levy rate increases or the rollback decreases, it’s possible you would see an increase in the amount of property tax owed, even if the assessed value has not changed.
For more information on property taxes, check out this short video:
What is a levy rate?
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with a different levy rate. Each year the county auditor determines for that district a levy rate that will yield enough money to fund the different entities in that district. The entities include local schools, counties, cities, townships, community colleges, local assessors, and others. Since more than one taxing authority is calculating a tax rate for the property, all the rates are added together, resulting in a single tax levy called a consolidated levy. This consolidated levy is always the result of two or more tax rates established by different government entities.
What is a rollback?
The rollback rate is a statewide rate set annually for each property class by the Iowa Department of Revenue. More than 20 years ago, residential property values were rising quickly. To help cushion the impact of high inflation, the Legislature passed an assessment limitation law called rollback. Increases in assessed values for residential and agricultural property are subject to this assessment limitation formula. If the statewide increase in values of homes and farms exceeds 3 percent due to revaluation, their values are "rolled back" so that the total increase statewide is 3 percent. Rollback is also available for industrial and commercial property when necessary. This does not mean that the assessment on your home will increase by only 3 percent. The rollback is applied on a class of property, not an individual property. This means that the statewide total taxable value can increase by only 3 percent due to revaluation.
What do I do if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?
If you disagree with the assessment of a property, you have two basic options. One option is to have an informal review with the assessor’s office. If an agreement can be reached between April 2 through April 25, a signed document will change the assessment to the mutually agreed upon value or classification. The second option is to file a formal appeal with the Board of Review between April 2 and April 30. Appeal forms are available on the Board of Review page.
How is the Assessor appointed?
The local assessor is appointed by a conference board to a six year term. All assessors must have successfully passed the assessor exam given by the Department of Revenue. Each assessor must successfully complete 150 hours of formal continuing education in order to be eligible for reappointment.
What is the Conference Board?
The conference board for Mason City is made up of the county supervisors, city council members, and the school board members.